Right now, we’re just a few weeks away from the winter solstice: the shortest day of the year in North America and the official start of winter. Depending on where you live, nippy temps and brisk winds may feel like winter is already here. Or maybe it doesn’t feel like it in terms of the weather, but your neighborhood’s Christmas decorations that went up before December 1 are heralding the changing season, anyway. Fortunately for California growers, the climate allows for growing a diversity of crops during the winter months of December, January, and February. You can grow produce year-round in California if you take proper precautions to protect your crops from frost and freezing temperatures. Indeed, you can harvest a greater variety of produce in the summer and fall months, but California provides a climate where dozens of crops can flourish in the coldest months, too.
With consumer demand for fresh, local produce on the rise, it’s wise to know what’s available for purchase throughout the year, and to consider crops that might complement your growing operations during the winter months. So today, we’re going to look at what you can grow in December, January, and February in California. Naturally, regional differences can affect what’s ready to harvest when, but generally, the following information outlines when you can harvest different types of fruits and vegetables.
December in California is a classic month for lemons and Valencia oranges, but did you know that pineapple, kiwis, guava, grapes, and pomegranates are ready to harvest, too? You can also harvest numerous greens like collards, kale, kohlrabi, chard, lettuce, spinach, and basil. Plenty of crops that can only be harvested in the summer months in other states enjoy winter availability in California, like corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Let’s not forget about our root vegetables, like carrots, turnips, yams, beets, and potatoes, which you can harvest in December in California. And in true defiance of winter, both summer and winter squash are available. Certain growers also produce onions, mushrooms, okra, eggplant, artichokes, green beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and celery. All in all, that’s quite the harvest across the state!
The month of January sees an increase in citrus availability in California. You can expect navel oranges, blood oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, and kumquats in addition to another month of lemon harvest. January in California has numerous crops in common with December, including beets, cabbage, chard, mushrooms, kale, cauliflower, celery, and kohlrabi. January also sees the harvest of one of California’s most well-known crops, the avocado. In January, you can also expect to harvest strawberries, passion fruit, asparagus, Medjool dates, green peas, broccoli, carambola, and cherimoyas. While other parts of the country are enjoying the frozen ground and thinking about starting their crops in greenhouses for the coming year, California growers can enjoy a diversity of January crops.
Not to be outdone by January, February in California enjoys close to 30 crops that are typically ready to harvest. The citrus season continues with oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines, and kumquats in all their glory. Other growers might continue their harvest from January with crops like cabbage, asparagus, green peas, celery, Medjool dates, kale, avocados, beets, cauliflower, mushrooms, green onions, passion fruit, Brussel sprouts, chard, strawberries, broccoli, and kohlrabi. Finally, some crops last harvested in December return in February, including carrots, lettuce, collards, spinach, and turnips.
Nature’s bounty, year-round
You might have noticed a few repeat crops in January, February, and December. But if we look at the entire year, California can produce cauliflower, kale, beets, green onions, mushrooms, celery, and cabbage year-round. That’s pretty incredible. And with the help of modern technology and protective equipment, California growers can extend growing seasons, get a jump on the next season, and maximize their yield and efficiency.
Need help expanding your growing operations?
At Fruit Growers Supply, we’re here to help you. With decades of expertise, we have the know-how and passion to help you plan for upcoming seasons, outfit you with an optimized, all-purpose pallet, or upgrade your irrigation system. In California, you can provide your customers with fresh, delicious, local produce all year round. If you’d like to learn more about how you can maximize your output in the winter, or any growing season, contact us today. We can connect you with the tools and resources at competitive prices to provide flexible solutions for your growing needs.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help – stop in one of our supply stores today, or fill out our contact form by clicking below.